Justin Jones and Craig Bond took over Preston Service Plus from Don and Dorie Besse on Monday, July 14. BRETTA GRABAU/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
Justin Jones and Craig Bond took over Preston Service Plus from Don and Dorie Besse on Monday, July 14. BRETTA GRABAU/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
Preston Service Plus underwent a major change in personnel a few weeks ago. Owners Don and Dorie Besse relinquished their business to two of their employees after a 29-year stint as owners.
Justin Jones of Harmony and Craig Bond of Chatfield took over the reigns of the business when the Besses expressed their desire to move on.
A native of the region, Jones grew up near the Wykoff area and has years of history in the auto repair business. He attended Riverland Community College in Austin where he received a two-year degree in auto and truck body rebuilding.
"I worked at Peterson Motors in Spring Valley while going to school and have been here at Preston Service Plus since 1999," he said.
Now Jones, along with his wife and four kids, lives near Harmony. He has known his partner for about 10 years, since Bond first worked at Preston Service Plus.
Unlike Jones, Bond did not grow up in the Fillmore County region. Rather, he originated on a farm in Willmar, Minn. He obtained his first two-year auto body degree from Ridgewater College in Willmar. Later, he acquired another two-year degree in automotive repair from Southeast Technical College in Winona.
Since Bond's wife works at Mayo Clinic, he and his family moved to Chatfield. Several years ago, Bond worked at Preston Service Plus. After a few years away, when he worked at Kuehn Motors, Rossi Auto Body Shop in Rochester and Fleet Farm doing alignments, he returned to Preston Service Plus. And the rest is history.
Jones and Bond were first approached by Dorie Besse about the possibility of owning the business at the beginning of the year.
"Dorie came and said they wanted to get out. She asked if we would want to buy it," Justin related.
"She just singled us out," Bond concurred. "We never really mentioned about buying it to her."
The idea of owning his own business up until that point had merely been a thought to Jones, though it had been sown many years ago.
"I have always thought about buying the business since I started here," Jones noted.
Of course, it appealed greatly to Bond as well.
"I always wanted to be my own boss," Bond joked.
Because buying the business had already dawned on them, it did not take much time to decide whether or not to say yes.
"We already know the system and the clientele. And it is located at a key position in Preston," Jones noted.
After first hinting at the possibility of selling the business to the two men, Dorie did not really mention it again. She gave no time frame for the men to consider. However, eventually April rolled around.
"We didn't have a date at first, but then she came back to us and said they wanted to be out by this date. She said we could have it then," stated Jones.
Then, voila, they were their own bosses.
Undergoing the process of such a fundamental change lasted about two months. On Wednesday, July 9, the deal closed. That next Monday, July 14, Jones and Bond officially took over the business.
Now that they run the business, Jones and Bond both have new routines and responsibilities to take care of.
"There is much more paperwork that we deal with. It takes more time to work up front with the public like giving estimates. But that is good," Jones said.
Of course, now that they are the bosses, they no longer have the regular 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, five days a week. They stay until their own work is done, sometimes even coming in on Saturday during the weekends.
"Work still has to get done, though we are not open on Saturdays," Jones noted.
And thankfully, they work well together. The bantering, teasing atmosphere between the two demonstrates the fun friendship they have and puts a customer at ease.
"The transition has been busy, but good," Bond related. "It has been pretty smooth and there haven't been any problems so far."
Though the business has changed hands, nothing really has changed there.
"It's pretty much the same as before. We will keep doing alignments, bodywork, light mechanical work, exhaust and mufflers, glass work and everything else that we did in the past," Jones commented.
Furthermore, with the exception of Dorie and Don, each employee working at the business is still part of the group that regular customers have already dealt with in the past.
The only change may come with a few new employees.
"We will probably hire some people to do things like answering the phone since we don't have an answering machine," Jones said.
Adding a few new employees will give the new owners the ability to delegate more work to others, lightening their own personal loads and freeing them to do what they love to do.
"We need to be out there working on the cars," Jones declared.
The only other real change coming out of the business' new position would be going green with water-based paint in the near future.
Jones and Bond plan to continue the legacy of quality service and leadership in the business.
"We will work on the cars as if they are our own," Jones expressed.
"We want to be honest and open with people," Bond stated.
If anyone is looking for a place to have work done on their car, check out Preston Service Plus in Preston.